Jonny Kim Move Over: Meet Raja Chari – Another Badass Asian-American set to go into Outer Space:

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Dr. Jonny Kim and Raja Chari are two extraordinaty Asian-Americans who are member’s of NASA’s 2017 astronaut candidate class, having been selected from a group of 18,000-plus wannabe astronaut applicants. Wow! And only 12 out of those over 18,000 were chosen… so what are the odds that even one – but TWO Americans of Asian descent got in? The answer is pretty simple:


In the photo below, Robert Lightfoot speaks at the event where NASA introduced Chari, Dr. Kim and the other 10 new astronaut candidates: Kayla Barron, Zena Cardman, Matthew Dominick, Robert Hines, Warren Hoburg, Robb Kulin, Jasmin Moghbeli, Loral O’Hara, Francisco Rubio and Jessica Watkins at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. After 2 years of training, they could be assigned to missions performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, or launching on deep space missions on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Photo Credit: (NASA/James Blair)

Raja Chari is from Milwaukee, Wis. and a Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Air Force.  Chari has a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. But it hardly stops there.

During and after his service to America’s fighting forces, he received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, a Korean Defense Service Medal and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal.

Feel useless enough now? Yeah, me too… I went to the Starbucks today and I’m exhausted.

Chari has been serving as the commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Sorry, ladies, Chari is married and has three children… oh well.

Not feeling enough like an underachiever? We reported on Dr. Jonny Kim – the other Asian American astronaut candidate and his exploits a little while back – CLICK HERE:

Dr. Jonny Kim may well be one of the most successful Americans ever, accomplishing the top 3 major childhood dreams before he turned 35.

Born in 84, Kim’s parents emigrated from South Korea in the 1980s. He enlisted in the US Navy as a Seaman recruit immediately after High School in 2002.

Dr. Kim completed more than 100 combat missions during his time in the Middle East, earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V.” Dr. Kim served as a medic and sniper for SEAL Team Three. The Navy Times named him one of the Top 10 Navy sailors of all time, right above JFK:

If you ever want to feel like a failure, just look up Dr. Jonny Kim’s resume and be prepared to feel shame for your lack of success (we sure did). – Navy Times

He is a graduate of both the University of San Diego, earning a degree in mathematics, and a Doctorate from Harvard Medical School.

During Dr. Kim’s first combat tour, he lost a fellow SEAL. He decided on a career in  the medical field. Dr. Kim received an officer’s commission in the Medical Corps following his graduation.

“The moment I knew I wanted to go into medicine was during my first deployment to Ramadi which is when one of my best friends was shot,” Kim has said. “After doing everything I could for him, securing his airway, controlling his bleeding, there wasn’t much more I could do for him but watch the spectacular team of emergency medicine physicians save my friend’s life.” –

We don’t want to leave out the other ten, so from the website, here’s everyone’s short bio: MEET THEM ALL!

Matthew Dominick, 35, Lt. Cmdr., U.S. Navy, was born and raised in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Dominick was at sea on the USS Ronald Reagan, serving as department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115, when he got the call saying he’d been selected as an astronaut candidate.

Bob Hines, 42, considers Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, his hometown. He graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. From there, he went on to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, and then the University of Alabama, where he earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. He has served in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves for 18 years. For the last five years, Hines has served as a NASA research pilot at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 31, is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. He continued on to earn a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a private pilot and has extensive experience with wilderness search and rescue efforts. Hoburg will come to NASA from MIT, where he currently is leading a research group as an assistant professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Kayla Barron, 29, Lt., U.S. Navy, is originally from Richland, Washington. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Barron earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge. As a submarine warfare officer, Barron was a

Robb Kulin, 33, hails from Anchorage, Alaska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver before going on to complete a master’s degree in materials science and a doctorate in engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He has previous experience as an ice driller in Antarctica on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Taylor Glaciers, and as a commercial fisherman in Chignik, Alaska. Since 2011, Kulin has worked for SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, where he leads the Launch Chief Engineering group.

Jasmin Moghbeli, 33, Maj., U.S. Marine Corps, considers Baldwin, New York, her hometown. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with information technology at MIT, followed by a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. She also is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School. Moghbeli currently tests H-1 helicopters and serves as the quality assurance and avionics officer for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 in Yuma, Arizona.

Loral O’Hara, 34, calls Sugar Land, Texas, home. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University. As a student, she participated in NASA’s KC-135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program, the NASA Academy at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the internship program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. O’Hara is currently a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, 41, Maj., U.S. Army, is originally from Miami. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a doctorate of medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Rubio has accumulated more than 1,100 hours of flight time in helicopters, including 600 hours of combat and imminent danger time. He’s currently serving as a surgeon for the 3rd Battalion of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Jessica Watkins, 29, hails from Lafayette, Colorado. She graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences, then went on to earn a doctorate in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Watkins has worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory and currently is a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, where she collaborates on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.

come to NASA from the U.S. Naval Academy, where she has been serving as the flag aide to the superintendent.

Zena Cardman, 29, calls Williamsburg, Virginia, home. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Marine Sciences at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Cardman is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow completing her doctorate at The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania. Her research has focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments. Her field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both scientist and crew, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho and Hawaii.




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